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OpinionColumnistsRita Ciolli

A hefty letter of recommendation

A letter sent to Sen. Schumer.

A letter sent to Sen. Schumer.

This originally appeared in The Point, the editorial board's newsletter for insiders. To subscribe, click here.

Supporters of the two candidates the Trump administration is considering for the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District are busy getting validations and endorsements for their guys.

In August, the Justice Department sent a letter to New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand asking them to take a look at Edward McNally, a former Justice Department official and partner in a Manhattan law firm that has represented President Donald Trump over the years in personal matters; and Richard Donoghue, counsel to CA Technologies who was a longtime prosecutor in the Eastern District. Since then, the selection process has remained under the radar, but there are signs that Justice Department wants to fill the vacancy in Brooklyn.

Three dozen alumni of the Eastern District wrote to Schumer Wednesday lauding Donoghue’s character and qualifications, saying they wanted the office to “remain one of the jewels” of the Justice Department. “Those of us who know Rich’s work firsthand can attest that no one is more qualified,” they wrote, highlighting his role in fighting MS-13 when he headed the Long Island office.

Signing the letter was an impressive array of prosecutors, including Christina Dugger and Paul Schoeman, who both served as chief assistant in the office; and three former heads of the public integrity sections, Morris Fodeman, Roger Burlingame and Colleen Kavanagh.

But while the letter was addressed to Schumer, whose past practice has been to meet only with official nominees and who is particularly concerned about the nominations for the Eastern and Southern districts, the target audience was likely Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his team making the selection.

And the message? Donoghue has some friends who will go to bat for his confirmation.